Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Texas Democratic Senate candidates debate today

You can't watch it live, however.

If the debate between two Democrats battling for a U.S. Senate nomination debate is not broadcast live, does it make a sound?

You can follow the live-blog here.

KERA will host a second U.S. Senate debate between the Democrats who finished first and second in the May primary. Former state representative Paul Sadler and retired educator Grady Yarbrough will tape a one-hour television debate that will be broadcast on KERA Channel 13 on Wednesday, June 27 at 7 p.m. and in other Texas markets at various times.

Here are some of those other markets and times. Houston gets it on Friday evening on PBS.

Folks, I think I have to vote for Grady in the runoff.

He's from humble origins and has a great story about hitchhiking to college each day from his parents' East Texas farm. He taught in public schools for about 50 years.

He lives the simple life of a man happy with a one-bedroom apartment on the third floor of a nondescript, no-elevators San Antonio complex. Every two weeks or so, he fires up his 1985 pickup and drives back to East Texas to tend to his small herd of cattle.

He's friendly, the great-grandson of slaves, beholden to nobody, optimistic and informed on the issues of the day.

For Texas Democrats long aching for a statewide win, Grady Yarbrough sounds like just what the doctor ordered. And he might be, if he wasn't the headache they fear they could wake up with the morning after their July 31 U.S. Senate runoff.

Beyond the sheer hilarity of the utter futility of it, Yarbrough has populist history on his side (and I'm not talking about his non-existent familial association with Ralph, either).

He's always run shoestring campaigns, depending, perhaps, on a name that could remind some folks of U.S. Sen. Ralph Yarborough, who served from 1957 to 1970. Yarbrough rejects the Yarborough theory.
"If my name resembles someone who may have served in the United States Senate some 35-40 years ago, living or dead, it's purely coincidental," he said, insisting any name recognition he enjoys stems from his three previous statewide races.
And if Yarbrough has benefited from the name game, there's evidence he's also suffered from it. He lost the 1986 GOP land commissioner runoff to M.D. Anderson Jr., who had nothing to do with the renowned cancer hospital. (For the record, Paul Sadler has nothing to do with Jerry Sadler, who held a variety of offices from 1938 through 1970. And I'm not former Glendora, Calif., Mayor Ken Herman.) FYI, Yarbrough ran in 1994 as Grady Yarborough. His mistake, he says.

But seriously... didn't some fellow do this once before?

The Dems' 1996 nominee was Victor Morales, an East Texas teacher who drove a white pickup truck (a 1992 Nissan that was Bentleyesque compared to Yarbrough's Chevy) to a surprising primary win over two incumbent U.S. House members. Morales lost to GOP Sen. Phil Gramm.

A real Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; an actual citizen populist. Name recognition-surfing and prior Republican branding aside -- or maybe together -- this is the perfect, tried-and-true candidate for Texas Democrats. He's got my full support (but only for the runoff).

And if he wins, just think of all the thousands of dollars Texas Democrats can save by not donating to his campaign. Why, that will leave them more to send to President Obama -- who, in keeping with tradition himself, won't spend any of it in Texas -- or to one of those tightly contested Senate races in places like Massachusetts.

Grady Yarbrough for US Senate. It's proud Texas Democratic tradition, for Jeebus' sake.

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